Daniela Ryf sets new Kona standard

Daniela Ryf dominated the Ironman World Championship, taking her second consecutive title in a new course record.

| October 9, 2016 | NEWS

Photo >Kevin Mackinnon

The women’s race at the Ironman World Championship in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii had the potential to be:

The bad news for the women competing here against Ryf was this: the Roth version showed up.

How dominant was Ryf? She set a new course record of 8:46:46. She won by 23:44 – and that’s over a woman who has won this race three times.

Ryf is frightening because she’s so good now in all three sports. Today she had the seventh fastest swim, just four seconds behind swim leader Meredith Kessler (52:46 to 52:50). She had the fastest bike split by over eight minutes – she went 4:52 and Jackson just missed a sub-5 hour ride, going 5:00:32. Here’s what is the scariest stat of the day: Ryf had the day’s fastest run, going 2:56:52 to Mirinda Carfrae’s 2:58:20.

It was a dominating performance, but Ryf was possibly even more impressive in terms of her patience. Through the early portions of the ride some of the other lead-pack swimmers like Kessler and Michelle Vesterby took their turns up at the front of the race while Ryf bided her time and waited for her time to press the pace. When she did, only Germany’s Anja Beranek was able to stay close – the two had a three-minute lead at the turnaround in Hawi.

When Ryf really put the hammer down on the bike, though, with about 30 miles of cycling to go, she dropped Beranek and flew away to a huge lead. Off the bike she was eight minutes up on the German, 14:02 ahead of Heather Jackson, 14:09 up on Anabel Luxford, 15:08 ahead of Mary Beth Ellis and Meredith Kessler. Check out some of the names who trailed by over 16 minutes: Michelle Vesterby, Jodie Swallow, Melissa Hauschildt … and Carfrae found herself coming off the bike over 22 minutes behind.

Once out on the run course, though, Carfrae did her usual thing by running her way through the field, moving up 11 positions to eventually take second. Jackon was also able to run her way passed Beranek to round out the podium, while the German smiled her way across the line in fourth. Kaisa Lehtonen finished fifth with Vesterby in sixth.

As good as this field was, the day was simply all Ryf’s. And, although it was “boring” in terms of seeing any women push her, she made it very exciting by setting a new standard that we’ve not ever seen here in Kona.

So, in the end, today’s race was neither option a) or b). It was simply magical.